First, Do No Harm
The Midnight Special
Scamming the Birdman
The Music Box Murders
The Enchanted Ear
The View from the Vue

Click the links above

for more information on each of Larry Karp's books. 

Larry Karp is currently being published by Poisoned Pen Press

Click here to return to the main page of Larry Karp's Books.



It's 1976. Despite fierce controversy over the propriety of in vitro fertilization, Dr. Colin Sanford, a brilliant, ambitious obstetrician in Emerald, Washington works secretly to put his name into medical history. But Sanford's endeavors lead to murder. Detective Bernie Baumgartner's investigation is hampered by pressure from influential people. Stakes rise faster than in any poker tournament, as a double cat-and-mouse game develops between doctor and detective.


This medical mystery is the latest novel from Larry Karp, released by Poisoned Pen Press on December 6, 2011.


Read the Opening Scenes of "A Perilous Conception" by Larry Karp.


What Others Are Saying...

...Interestingly, this fast-paced story is told from the viewpoint of both protagonist and antagonist. In lesser hands, it would be muddled and disconcerting, but thankfully, Larry Karp has mastered the technique fluently with not a bump in sight.

Detective Bernie Baumgartner is a fascinating and compelling character, and no doubt we will be seeing more of him in future books. If you're looking for a crime thriller to keep you on the edge of your seat right to the very last page, look no further.

A Perilous Conception is just what the doctor ordered.

Sam Millar, New York Journal of Books



It's 1977 in a large city in the Pacific Northwest, and a hotshot obstetrician has paired up with a crackerjack lab professor to create what might just be the world's first successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) baby. But something goes horribly wrong when the baby's father kills the lab doc and then himself. Detective Bernie Baumgartner wants to know the motivation behind the crime, and he doesn't give up easily. The new mother is less than grief-stricken, and this puzzles him, as does the stonewalling obstetrician. With Baumgartner's bumbling persona hiding an intelligent and intuitive mind, these geniuses don't stand a chance. VERDICT A former doctor who delivered the first baby conceived through IVF in the Pacific Northwest, Karp (First, Do No Harm in the "Music Box Mystery" series) brings a fresh topic to the medical thriller. Readers will be delighted with his new detective's debut. Pages will fly by as his action-packed cat-and-mouse chase draws to an unexpected conclusion.

Janice Welch, Library Journal Starred Review



The pioneer period of in vitro fertilization forms the backdrop for Karp's promising first in a new series set in the Pacific Northwest. In 1977, obstetrician Colin Sanford aspires to be the first person to produce a viable baby through this innovative procedure. Aided by embryologist Giselle Hearn, Sanford successfully treats an infertile patient, Joyce Kennett. But before he can announce the birth of Joyce's son, her husband, James, shoots Giselle dead and then himself. While trying to determine what triggered the murder-suicide, Det. Bernie Baumgartner discovers an additional mystery: the disappearance of Giselle's laboratory supervisor. A duel of wills and wits ensues between the detective and Sanford, who aims to guard his reputation and avoid scandal. Karp (The Ragtime Fool), who as a young doctor was a witness to the race to produce the first IVF baby, tempers his well-constructed whodunit with dashes of science and a hint of poignancy. (Dec.)

Cevin Bryerman, Publishers Weekly



Physician Karp, author of the Music Box mysteries, branches out with a medical thriller set in 1976. Colin Sanford, a brilliant but egotistical obstetrician practicing in Emerald, Washington, wants to be the first to produce a baby by in-vitro fertilization. He enlists the aid of embryologist Giselle Hearn, who is frustrated by the conservative policies of the department chair at the university medical school. The two conspire to achieve fame and fortune, convincing one of Sanford's desperate infertility patients to participate while keeping the procedure secret. The patient, Joyce Kennett, has a healthy son, but her husband becomes enraged, killing Hearn and then himself. What caused the rage? Police Detective Bernie Baumgartner wants to figure it out. His chief and the authorities at the university want the case closed as a murder-suicide by a mentally ill man, but Bernie knows there is more to the story. Karp lays out a very entertaining puzzle for medical-mystery fans. 

Barbara Bibel, Booklist



When a veteran detective investigates a baffling murder-suicide, he uncovers a medical morass and some profound ethical questions... Alternating first-person narratives from the self-important surgeon and the hard-boiled sleuth add texture to this series kickoff from Karp (The King of Ragtime, 2008, etc.). Well paced and intriguing.

Kirkus Reviews



In A Perilous Conception Larry Karp provides a clever, intricate medical mystery with plenty of twists, an inventive touch with metaphors, and an ample helping of wit. As any writer knows, telling a story from more than one point of view is a tricky business, but Karp brings it off with aplomb, keeping his characters separate, distinctive . . . and interesting. And as an added bonus, the next time the subject of in vitro fertilization comes up at a cocktail party, you'll blow everybody's socks off.

Aaron Elkins, Edgar winner and author of The Worst Thing



In his new thriller, A Perilous Conception, Larry Karp blends medical science with high suspense. The result is a well-crafted tale of ambition, deception, blackmail and murder. Though set in the 70's, the provocative issues tackled in this compelling story still spark controversy. Karp's use of multiple narrators gives the book a fascinating edge, and readers will root for Detective Bernie Baumgartner, the determined investigator who plays a deadly cat-and-mouse game with a cunning killer.

Hot-button issues, ruthless ambition, human experimentation, blackmail, suicide, murder. A Perilous Conception delivers.

Kevin O'Brien, New York Times Best-selling Thriller Author



Karp’s intimate knowledge of what can and does go on in a medical research facility and in an OB/GYN practice make the plot of “A Perilous Conception” chillingly real... The author uses a fairly unusual technique of writing alternatively in the voices of Sanford and Baumgartner. By doing so the reader gets inside the heads of both guys and finds out that both men are flawed. It is actually hard to like either character at times, although both redeem themselves in some ways by the end of the book... This is a unique story with an intricate cat-and-mouse plot that will particularly appeal to those who are familiar with academia and medical research.

Liz Nichols, Mystery Maven Blog



...This is a super twisting medical murder and historical thriller that brings to life the competition to be first to successfully use in vitro fertilization. Fast-paced with a cat and mouse chess game between two intelligent stubborn men, fans will appreciate Larry Karp's interesting suspense.

Harriet Klausner, Barnes and Noble



Just how far will some doctors go to be the first to produce a baby by in vitro fertilization?

...The evolution of this plotline, even knowing some of the underlying facts, still makes for a tension-filled, exciting read. It's a fast-paced mystery with a more than satisfactory resolution.

Tanzey Cutter, Fresh Fiction



Just an observation, but this month I found three stellar mysteries set in the 1970s. It is sobering to realize they border on becoming historical mysteries. Two are set in Asia...The third title, Larry Karp's, A Perilous Conception, features what was then a controversial new medical technique called in vitro fertilization. Don't miss it.

Teresa L. Jacobsen, "Mystery," Library Journal, Dec 1, 2011



Karp is a skilled plotter and storyteller who vividly portrays Sanford's world: an uneasy mix of academics and hands-on medicine, close cooperation and vicious turf wars. In "A Perilous Conception," he's delivered an engrossing book about a fascinating corner of the medical world.

Adam Woog, Seattle Times



...This game that is played between the detective and the doctor, who both think that they are the best of the best plays out over these pages with a surprise in every chapter. Don't miss this one - it is a definite keeper. The author does a fantastic job with these two main characters. You love them one minute and hate them the next.

Mary Lignor, Feathered Quill Book Reviews/Seattle Post-Intelligencer



...Not only do we get drawn into the complexities of IVF, the mystery is compelling and twisty. I was surprised and pleased by the edginess and darkness that Larry Karp brings to this story. If you've ever met him, you know he's the kindest, gentlest man on the planet, but with this story, he looks hard at the darker side of human nature. The other thing I was delighted with was his use of voice. A Perilous Conception is told first person, but from two different people's perspectives -- Dr. Colin Sanford, and Detective Bernie Baumgartner, and there's no confusion about who's speaking at any given time. Both are brilliantly created, and Karp's switching back and forth between them kept the story moving and fascinating.

Fran Fuller, Seattle Mystery Bookshop Newsletter




Author:  Larry Karp
Hardback: 274 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-973-1

Trade Paperback:  274 pages

ISBN: 978-1-59058-975-5


Large Type Trade Paperback: 384 pages

ISBN-13: 978-1-59058-974-8


Also available as an audiobook (CD, Cassette Tape and MP3) from Blackstone Audio

Also available as an e-book

from Amazon for Kindle

Barnes and Noble for Nook

Seattle Mystery Bookstore for
  Kobo and other readers


Support your independent booksellers.  Independent Mystery Booksellers Associationis an excellent resource to find your closest Independent Mystery Booksellers Association member.



All of Larry Karp's mysteries can be found at Seattle Mystery Bookshop!All of Larry Karp's mysteries (including autographed copies AND books that have gone out of print) can be found here: